“If only I had...”

This is a sure recipe for personal disaster. Even if the intention is noble, these words and thoughts lead one directly to sorrow and inaction.  

One should not lament about not having things that are presently beyond his or her reach. When you see someone superior to you in health, wealth or wisdom what would you do?

Feel happy to see those who are superior to you in status. When you see someone enjoying a palatial house, say, “Good to see you enjoy a good house. Radhe Radhe!” Wish them well and move away. Be happy for the state that they enjoy.

Feel sympathy for those who are in a lower state than you. When you see a poor man, sympathize with his situation and offer whatever help is within your ability.

Be friendly with those who are in a status equal to yours.

One who leads his life in this manner will never know sorrow.

There once lived a Mahan. A man approached him and said, “Swami! If only I had a large piece of land.... (sigh). Please help me get a piece of land.”

The Mahan asked, “Why do you need a piece of land?”

The man said, “I desire to perform puja.”

“Do puja with what you have.”

 “Swami, I have nothing. That is why I have sought your help to obtain a piece of land. I have a Deity with me. I need puja articles to perform worship.” The man then elaborated on all his needs for his worship of God.

The Mahan repeatedly said to him, “Worship with what you have.”

Finally, the Mahan advised him, “Think over what I have said.”

The man sat down to think over the words of the Mahan. He thought, “I have nothing with me and I sought a piece of land,puja articles, food for offering, etc. from the Mahan. But he keeps advising me to do puja with whatever I have.’

He mulled over the Mahan’s words, and at last he understood what the Mahan was trying to tell him. “I have the mind with me. The Mahan is advising me to do puja with my mind. That is manasika puja (mental worship). Don’t I have a mind? I can do puja as I wish, with a silver or gold mantap and other even more expensive articles created by my mind!”

Just as we enjoy seeing the moon, the stars, etc. we should learn to enjoy seeing beauty in other people and what they possess, without getting attached to anything. When we do this, we will soon stop feeling “If only I had…” and learn to be content with whatever we have—a vital step in the path to permanent happiness.